KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
ONE LIKE UNTO A SON OF MAN
"And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned I saw…one like unto a son of man…and His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (Rev. 1:16).
When Jesus Christ, the sign son, was transfigured on the mount before the wondering eyes of His disciples, we are told that “His face did shine as the sun, and His garments became white as the light.” In the Gospel of Mark we are told that “His garments became glistering,” which, in the Greek, means, “to lighten forth, flash forth like lightning.” Within that form of man dwelt glory ineffable! As He prayed upon the mount of Transfiguration, He opened a little way the robe of humanity with which He had covered Himself when He came down to earth, and His majesty and glory burst forth! The truth is that this was a “breaking forth” of the glory of the incorruptible life of God flowing through the veins of Christ’s perfect humanity! With this wonderful thought in our minds let us with reverence consider the words of the apostle John wherein he wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1:1,4,14). “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12).
In one of George Hawtin’s writings he shared this beautiful thought: “You have heard of the light of a candle. You have heard of the light of the stars. You have heard of the light of the moon. You have heard of the light of the sun. But this is the light of life! When men speak of the light of the sun, we understand. When they speak of the light of the moon, we understand. May we not now understand the truth of Christ’s words: the light of life?” The glory of the transfiguration was the momentary unveiling of the glorious heavenly light of Christ’s life. It was in truth the manifestation of the light of life promised by our Lord, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12). It shone from His face. It glistered from His garments. It surrounded Him like a halo. It emanated like a blazing sun. His eyes were like lamps of fire — the light that swallows up all darkness and death of the carnal realm. There on the mount of Transfiguration His disciples beheld Him in the glory of the light of His incorruptible life. This was resurrection life, kingdom life, sonship life, immortal life! And, beloved, this beautiful picture tells us what our incorruptible bodies will be — the glistering light of life that Christ Himself actually is!
I remember following a guide deep down a winding path into the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. We entered a kind of underground amphitheater and were asked to sit down. Then all the lights were turned off, and we were surrounded by a darkness thicker than any I have ever experienced. No matter how long we waited, no tiny ray of light made its way down to where we were. The darkness was so thick that we could almost feel it. No one moved. Since that moment I have often thought about what it means that “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.” The human situation, apart from God, is much like being deep in a cavern with the lights off. There’s no way to know which way to go, what to do, or how to get where we belong. Then God comes in, in the power of His Spirit and by the glory of Jesus Christ, and it’s as if the lights go on and we can see! We find our way by following His way. We learn who we are, who our Father is, and all we need is wondrously discovered in the light of His countenance! In the glory of Jesus God shows us not only where we are but also how to get to our ultimate destiny!
The Roman emperor Trajan said to one of the believers in the true God, “I understand that you believe that your God is everywhere. And He dwells among the nations. I should very much like to see Him.” To which this believer responded, “I am afraid, sire, that no mortal eye can look upon His glory and that person live, for He is too glorious for the eye to behold.” “Nevertheless,” said the emperor, “I am your king and I command you that you show me your God.” “Very well, sire, but before I do, I think it best that you look upon one of His ambassadors before you attempt to look Him in the face.” And with that, he led the emperor Trajan outdoors on a bright and dazzling midday. He bade him to look up into the sun shining in the heavens. The emperor exclaimed, “I cannot, for the light dazzles my eyes!” The believer said, “If you cannot look upon one of His ambassadors that carries the message of His creation to the world each day, then how shall you look into the face of God, Himself?”
Spiritual bodies are represented as shining as the lightning. The heavenly messenger who came to roll back the stone from the door of the sepulcher where Jesus had been lain was described thus: “His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow” (Mat. 28:3). We have already mentioned the transfiguration of Jesus upon the dizzy heights of mount Hermon where “His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light” (Mat. 17:2). When Saul of Tarsus met this same Jesus following His resurrection and glorification, the shining was so bright that he fell from his horse and his sight was destroyed as by a blazing sun; and yet “the men that journeyed with him saw no man.” And it is written, “Who maketh His messengers spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire” (Heb. 1:7). Moses walked with his flock along the backside of the wind-swept desert when “the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of the bush” (Ex. 3:2). And while shepherds tended their flocks one starlit night just outside Bethlehem, suddenly, “the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid” (Lk. 2:9).
These were one and all appearances of spiritual beings from the spiritual realm. It is a wonderful fact that the elect sons of God are destined to rule and reign with Christ in the kingdom out of that higher sphere. Any man who thinks the sons of God will be flying around on airplanes and renting great auditoriums and stadiums for massive crusades has missed the point of sonship altogether! The realm of manifest sonship is a presently unexplored and unknown realm of life so far as we are concerned. If you want to know the full glory of manifest sonship look not at Jesus of Nazareth, but behold the Christ who came out of the tomb in the power of resurrection! The natural mind cannot think itself into such a realm of life as this by any kind of confession, positive thinking, or self-induced raised consciousness! It is only by the inspiration of the Spirit of God that we ever get a glimpse of a realm so transcendent and glorious. No man knows the things of God, but the Spirit of God does, and as God wills we are given understanding.
John saw the manifestation of this glory of sonship on the holy mount with Jesus, and again on the isle of Patmos when in Spirit he beheld the splendor of this One like a son of man whose countenance was as the sun shining in its strength. Today by the Spirit of revelation the curtain is beginning to open and some are seeing that which lies before us to be apprehended, praise His wonderful name! It follows of necessity that man’s being, because it is unsuited to the spiritual world, must be changed by the power of God. A bird would need a mighty change to be able to live under water, or a fish to live in the air; but the Lord promises a much more striking change to those who are predestinated to be manifested as the sons of God with power! “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” “Who will transform and fashion anew the body of our humiliation to conform to and be like the body of His glory and majesty, by exerting the power which enables Him even to subject everything to Himself” (Phil. 3:21, Amplified).
In a starless night all is black; but from the moment that the dawn has kindled its first beacon-light of vivid crimson on the ice-clad mountain peak, it fires — summit after summit — the splendor of the hills, and flows down their sides in rivers of molten gold. The streams flash into silver; the sea burns beneath the flood of radiance; the fields burst into color; the forest leaves and dewy flowers gleam with millions of diamonds; the whole world thrills and burns with luster and life beneath the brilliance of the noonday sun. Like that is the radiance of the Son of man whose countenance is as the sun shining in its strength! All things are revealed in the light of His countenance, which is the glory of God. God is light; He is that light, bodiless and imperceptible, from whose inexhaustible fountain our earthly light is but a faint spark, or a dim shadow.
Thus, in the prophetic scriptures the Lord is symbolized by the sun. The natural sun is the brightest luminary in the natural heavens. His countenance as the sun helps us to interpret the meaning of the spiritual sun. The light which Christ is, is the sun of God’s spiritual solar system. “For the Lord God is a sun and a shield” (Ps. 84:11). The twenty-seventh Psalm begins with this word, “The Lord is my light.” This phrase is found frequently in the Psalms, as for instance in Psalm 36:9, “For with Thee is the fountain of life; in Thy light shall we see light.” And again, “O send out Thy light and Thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto Thy holy hill, and to Thy tabernacles” (Ps. 43:3). The wonderful significance of this One whose face shines as the noonday sun is beautifully expressed by the Psalmist, “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound; they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance” (Ps. 89:15). Light is the very substance of God, it is the essence of His own person, being, and nature. It is embodied in Him. Light originates, emanates, and radiates from our heavenly Father! From the brightest star in the universe to the tail of the tiniest firefly — all light comes from God!
The glorious Son of God is the One in whom the unapproachable and utterly incomprehensible glory of God is made manifest! As we only know the sun by the light that shines from it, so is God’s Christ the outshining, the revelation of God’s glory! As the light that shines from the sun is one nature with it, so every son of God is of one nature with the Father! As the light that shines from the sun is one substance with it, so the sons of God are the very substance of God in the earth! Friends, Christ is the light, the light is within; it must break through, it must arise and shine, it must have pre-eminence in our hearts. The glory of God is the emanation or radiation of His nature, and as we are filled with His glory we radiate His nature to creation. This is the real purpose of our calling! The Christ within, not the doctrine of sonship, not the truth of reconciliation, not the word of the kingdom, not another man’s revelation, not another man’s faith, but your own INDWELLING LIGHT enables you to manifest as the One in the midst of the candlesticks whose countenance is as the sun shining in its strength! Other people can follow the wandering stars and the falling stars, vainly chasing after the illusive light within them, but, praise God, there is a people in whom the God of light is being formed and birthed, partakers of His divine nature, conformed to His image, a new life found within, even the light of life. As the light of God increases in the elect in this hour, we are being brought to the place where all our need is fully met by the INNER SUFFICIENCY of the indwelling Spirit, not from that which comes from without.
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee” (Isa. 60:1-2). There is a people UPON WHOM OUR GOD IS ARISING! He isn’t going to arise in the skies of the physical heavens, as the church-world ignorantly expects, but upon His people. His glory will not be seen streaking across the physical heavens, but upon His people. Darkness does cover the earth, and gross darkness the people, but in spite of the abounding desolations of wickedness and trouble, we live in the most glorious hour of all time for the people of God! The prophetic voice of the Lord is in the earth proclaiming with a great voice as of a trumpet that God is preparing His king-priests for the grand task of bringing reconciliation, restoration, and transformation to the whole fallen world order. Nothing that man has done has so desolated the world that it is beyond hope! One glorious Son of God came into a world of pagan darkness and ruthless power and by the Spirit of His Life conquered all the gods of the pagans and altered the course of world history. That divine seed that fell into this earth has sprung forth in the hearts of millions and is now ready to bring forth its harvest — many sons brought to His glory! For two thousand years the world has seen the candlesticks; now is the time for them to see the One in the midst of the candlesticks whose countenance is as the sun shining in its strength!
In the very midst of all this darkness upon the land and gross darkness upon the people, God is arising upon His chosen ones. He is rising in my heart! How joyful we are that God, who is the Light, gets right down where the darkness is. He does not come from afar to dispel the night, for “God…commanded the light to shine out of darkness” (II Cor. 4:6). First, God has met us right where we are. Some of us have been in some pretty dark places in our lives! But God commanded the light to shine out of our darkness, and the dawning of God’s day within us has blazoned our sky and made us a body of light to usher in a new day for all creation. The brightness of our rising brings the dawning of the new day! As we shed His glory abroad, we are lights in humanity’s sky — so let no shadow of self keep your light from shining, but fill the earth with the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ!
We are appointed to shine as the sun. We have now come to mount Zion, to the city of the living God as a shining scene of great splendor and brightness and dazzling beauty. It is not our desire to merely see the light, or tell of it, or paint it, or live in it — as fine as all that is. We must BECOME THE LIGHT. “YE ARE the light of the world.” “YE ARE light in the Lord.” How unworthy and unprepared for such a calling we feel some times! But, precious friend of mine, you may be poor, weak, unknown, unheralded, unlettered, despised and rejected of men; but if, through grace, there is a link connecting you to that “One in the midst of the candlesticks,” then you are, in very deed, a son of the day, and destined, in Father’s purpose and time, to shine in that celestial sphere, that region of glory, of which God’s Christ will be the central sun forevermore. This is not your own doing. It is the result of the counsel and operation of God Himself who has given you the light of life, joy and peace, triumph and glory, in Jesus Christ.
Yet, should you be a total stranger to the hallowed action and influence of divine light, if your eyes have not been opened to behold any beauty in the face of the Son of God, and no attraction to that place in Him in the midst of the candlesticks, then, though you possessed all the wealth of the nations, though you had the power of a king, though you had all the learning of an Einstein, though you were enriched with all the treasures of human philosophy, though you had drunk in with avidity all the streams of human science, though your name were adorned with all the learned titles which the schools and universities of this world could bestow, though you were piously devoted to the grandest creeds, traditions, rituals, ceremonies, and service of the revered religious systems of earth, yet you are A SON OF THE NIGHT, A CHILD OF DARKNESS; and are just as dark, just as void, just as formless and empty, just as cold and dead as was the desolate earth and the dark abyss, from which you came, before that memorable day in which God first said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
We must first see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ shining in our hearts and then it will be radiating forth to enlighten the earth. Isaiah said of the desolation of the earth, “And they shall see the glory of the Lord.” Oh, yes! ALL shall see the glory of the Lord as it was upon the countenance of Moses, as it radiated forth from the whole being of Jesus Christ, as it shone in the face of Stephen. And the glory of the latter house must be greater than the former! There must be a sense that the glory of the Lord is filling His temple. The glory of the Lord so filling the temple that the priests will not be able to stand and minister. All that is of ourselves, all that is common and ordinary, all that is done by rote must be hushed and fall down in prostration before the very presence of the glory of God, because it is from underneath the threshold of the house that the living waters flow out, from the deepest dimensions of our lives. Out of that low place and out of the temple and the tabernacle of our God there will be that expression and that shining forth of the brightness of the glory of the Lord and the excellency of our God. The beautiful expression of His life, the marvelous operation of His spirit, the authority and glory of His power — THE EXCELLENCY OF OUR GOD!
We were all born into a world of darkness and death. Christ is appearing within us as Light to begin to dispel the darkness and give us hope. His light within us is making it possible for us to trust our Father to bring us to a complete transformation. The darkness of this world becomes light all around us, for Christ, the source of all light, is shining brighter and brighter within us to dispel the darkness of the carnal human realm. His light within us is manifested as a greater revelation of the truth, by increasing His faith within us, by raising up His nature of peace, joy, love, confidence, power and victory in all the happenings of our lives. We now see things in the world more positively, for we know our Father is in control. We have learned this experientially, by His great faithfulness in our own experiences, testings, and circumstances. We now see all men in a different light by the true spirit of unconditional love, mercy, grace, reconciliation, and restoration. This is all the LIGHT OF CHRIST! The more positive outlook we now have is not due to a new teaching, a new mindset, a new form of meditation, psychology, hypnotism, mind control, or mental imaging. Those are all soulish things! The kingdom of God, the nature of God, and the glory of Christ does not come by soul power! But it is the direct result of a greater degree of the Light of Christ within us, by the Spirit. IT IS THE LORD
The following words by George Wylie are very precious and meaningful. “I often wondered how it could be that God was omnipresent; that He could be everywhere at once, as the Psalmist said, “Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold Thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me” (Ps. 139:7-10). God can be everywhere, and fill the universe with Himself because the glory of God is the radiation of His being into the whole cosmos. Every living being has an “aura” or “emanation” of its life. This “aura” or “emanation” is identical with and corresponds to our nature, and is our nature and personality radiating from us into our surroundings, and it affects everything around us. With the people of God it is a radiation that flows from our spirits, and the stronger our spirits are the greater the radiation.
“God is likened to a sun, so that bright orb that shines out there in space is a type of God. Let us look at this for a minute. Though the sun is more than ninety million miles away in space, it radiates light, heat, energy, and life to everything on the earth. The nature of the sun is that of light, heat, and energy, and it radiates itself into all our solar system. Though it is over ninety millions miles away from us, if it weren’t for our atmosphere, the light and heat would burn everything to a crisp in a matter of minutes. How much farther its radiation goes, I have no idea, but it could travel an inestimable distance into space. The sun supplies us with light, heat, energy, and life. Without it no life could exist on this planet. The sun is the source of all this! God is a sun, and what the sun is to this earth, God is to the universe! HE is the life, light, and energy that pervades and radiates through the universe, supporting and sustaining all creation. Just as our sun radiates into our solar system, and supports and sustains natural life on this planet, so God radiates Himself into the entire universe to support and uphold all things.
“The glory of God is the radiation or emanation of His nature and power, and this glory surrounds Him. As we become partakers of the divine nature, we also radiate the glory of His nature! This is the real purpose of our calling! We receive His glory when we are made partakers of His divine nature, and there is no other way by which we can enter into the glory of the Lord. When the scripture says that God is bringing many sons to glory, this is not some geographical location He is going to take His sons to, but a realm in the divine spirit that belongs to eternity. God brings us to glory by recreating Himself within us, giving us His nature, reproducing in us His image and likeness, filling us with His fullness, until the light of the glory of that divine nature radiates from us to give light and life to all creation. As the Son is the brightness of the Father’s glory, and the express image of His person, when we are conformed to the image of the Son, then we also become the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person! We are being changed into heavenly, spiritual, life-giving beings!” — end quote.
“His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (Rev. 1:16). The countenance is the face. The face stands spiritually for the inward nature for the face is the revealer of one’s inmost being. Our faces reveal much about us — often more than we wish! The beauty of a person is upon their countenance, for from the eyes, the lips, the expression, the light of the inner man shines through and thus he is known as a man of light or of darkness. Every emotion and desire sheds expression upon the countenance. The hidden man of the heart finds language in a look. A furtive glance, a blushing cheek, a pensive line, a nervous lip, a shining smile, a troubled eye or a beaming eye will reveal what speech would conceal. There are faces that betray weakness and instability. There are faces that reveal sin and dissipation. Other faces betoken determination, firmness, strength, confidence, contentment, and character. The world has no portrait of the lowly Nazarene who walked the shore of Galilee. But the power of the Spirit of that Man within us reveals the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ!
There is a deep mystery to the body of Christ, and even a deeper mystery to the glorious Head of that body. Robert Wise reported in one of his books an amazing incident in the life of Cecil Hanson. Incredibly, in 1940 Cecil was pronounced clinically dead for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. During those lost minutes he entered one of those extraordinary adventures of leaving his body and this world behind. During this period of being dead he discovered a number of things that defy the imagination. Ultimately he felt God directing him to return to this life and to rear his small son, Van. He came back to dedicate his life to raising the boy who would otherwise have been orphaned. Van’s mother had died in childbirth and Cecil had not gotten over the blow. During those missing minutes his hostilities disappeared and he was ready to pour himself into the little lad. Ultimately, Van grew to be an outstanding person. Today he is an oral surgeon and countless lives have been touched by his faith as well as his medical skill.
And what happened to change Cecil’s life so dramatically? During that period of “twilight” he encountered Jesus in person. In those moments he looked fully into the face of the risen Christ and beheld Him in all of His glory. It is Cecil’s description of His face that embodies a deep mystery. He saw the face of Jesus as a marvelous mosaic made up of hundreds of small facets. Each piece added a shade or line to the total picture. So in looking into this composite face he could see the countenance of Christ! But as he looked he could see hundreds of parts. The startling realization was that the mosaic pieces were not tile, metal, or glass. Each small section was a clear, distinct cameo of someone’s face! As Cecil stared fixedly at the face there was a pulsating fluctuation between the total face and the cameo sections. One minute he could see the Face and then in the next he was aware of hundreds of faces! In awe Cecil began to recognize what was revealed in each of those cameos. They were all people he knew! Moreover, they were all people who had loved him and shown the compassion, kindness, and goodness of Christ to him during his life. Overwhelmed in worship and amazement, Cecil bowed before the risen Lord. In the lingering moments of that experience, anxieties, fears, and doubts were healed. When Cecil “returned” to start his life again, the many-faceted face of Jesus guided him through the years ahead.
“And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead…” (Rev. 1:17).
When Moses desired the vision of the glory of God, he was warned that no man could see God’s face and live. No man can stand in the full blaze of divine glory! The glare of the eastern sun on desert sands has dazed men’s eyes; the fierce, gleaming radiance of sunlight on the snow-clad hills has blinded human sight, and none can, with the naked eye, behold the sun in the sky. How, then, can our mortal vision turn its gaze upon the glory that is ineffable? When John on Patmos saw the glory of the Son of man the glory so overpowered him that he felt like a man whose very life was taken and there was no strength in him.
We might think that John would have leaped and danced and shouted for joy in the presence of the revelation of the glory and fullness of Christ. But this blessed saint of God, who had lived near to the heart of Christ while they walked together on earth, this man, who with wonder had seen the Galilean control the very elements, who once was awed by the transfiguration and struck dumb by the glory of Christ’s resurrection, this man who had experienced the blazing glory of Pentecost, now falls as a dead man as he beholds this Christ not as He was at first, but as He is at last. Truly John was changed from glory to more excellent glory by beholding the glory of God’s Christ! My prayer is that all who read these lines may clearly see that beholding His glory causes the old you to shrink and wither away and die while the new man, the Christ man in the image of God, matures and grows up into His likeness. As the glory of the revelation of Jesus Christ shines upon us, things that belong to the old Adamic creation pass away like the fall leaves and, behold, new things are born.
Saul of Tarsus many years earlier was fulfilling his commission of slaughter when he was arrested by the voice and vision of Christ on the Damascus road, and the man, in the dazzling light brighter than the noonday sun, fell to the ground, blinded by the glory. Ezekiel did not see the Lord; he did not see even the glory of the Lord. He saw only “the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.” Ezekiel caught just a glimpse of a reflection of divine radiance, but that was enough to floor him. He fell down in awe!
“Behold, I am vile,” said one man in the Bible. This was not said by Cain in a remorseful moment after his murder of Abel, nor by Judas after he had betrayed the Lord into the hands of His enemies; instead, it was the utterance of one of whom God said, “There is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil” (Job. 1:8). Was Job’s language the result of extreme depression, induced by his terrible afflictions? Was it when he first received the news of his terrible calamities? Not at all! For then he exclaimed, “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” Was it when his friends reasoned with him and reproved him? No, for then he vindicated himself and argued of his uprightness. Let us notice when it was that Job uttered the words, “I am vile!” IT WAS WHEN THE LORD APPEARED TO HIM AND GAVE HIM A STARTLING REVELATION OF HIS OWN WONDROUS PERFECTIONS! It was when he stood in the all-penetrating light of God’s holy glory and was made to realize something of His surpassing majesty.
Ah, when a soul is truly brought into the presence of the living God, boasting ceases, our own righteousness is turned to corruption, and we cry with the prophet, “Woe is me! For I am undone!” When God makes to the soul a personal revelation of HIS GLORY, that individual is effectually convinced of his own wretchedness. The more we are given to discern the ineffable glory of the Lord, the more will our self-worth wither. It is in God’s light, and in that only, that “we see light” (Ps. 36:9). When He shines into our understandings and hearts, and brings to light “the hidden things of darkness,” we perceive the utter corruption of our humanity, and are abominable in our own eyes. Thank God for it! For when we stand in the blazing light of Him who is a consuming fire the nature of the Adamic man of sin is slain by the breath of His mouth!
John “falling as one dead” before the majesty of God’s Christ has nothing to do with the silly, carnal experience of being “slain in the spirit” as practiced by many in the Pentecostal and Charismatic realms today. Now don’t get me wrong — there is a genuine experience of actually falling under the power of the Holy Spirit! Elaine Cook printed a testimony from our long-time friend, Rita Kahr, with an added comment by Elaine which I deem important to share here, for it reflects my own observation and concern through many years of walking in the Spirit. Rita says:
“I was in a group where people were being prayed for and were falling over, ‘slain in the spirit.’ I wasn’t sure if this was real or not, so I resisted the one who was putting some pressure on my head and I stood my ground when everyone else had fallen over. The question I put to those who had fallen down was, ‘Did anything happen to you? Did the Lord speak any thing to you, or show you anything?’ Their reply was, ‘No.’ It was plain to see that they counted it a thrill to have been knocked over by the Lord. On another occasion, a brother in my home was just lightly touching the people and they were falling over. Before I knew what had happened, he had touched me and I had fallen too. I didn’t feel the Lord, nor did I feel holy! I tried to pretend that something had happened. I talked to others later and they seemed happy just to have had this experience, but I protested that God is purposeful and would not do anything unless it was for a purpose. I began seeking the Lord, asking, ‘Is this real? Is your purpose just to give us a thrill?’ Months later, I had an experience of truly being slain in the spirit. I found that there is a real, and there is a counterfeit of the real! God showed me that He is purposeful in all that He does and that we are to test the spirits and prove all things.’”
Elaine added the following comment: “Rita shared this with us when we met her on our trip. It was refreshing to meet someone who questioned the validity of this particular manifestation. I too, have had those who exerted pressure upon my head to push me down. Like Rita, I felt there must be some purpose to it and I would resist any man trying to fake the power of God. A certain TV evangelist who was busily trying to make a name for himself would copy a certain famous evangelist by throwing his arm out and causing the people to fall down. It looked like the mighty power of God! But the Holy Spirit rebuked him with these words: ‘You are prostituting the gift of God.’ This solemn warning shook him to the core and was the means of the Lord bringing him out of that place of trying to be ‘Mister Big’ to the place where he now sees the message of sonship and understands that the soul life must be laid down” — end quote.
We have to get beyond dead doctrines, religious traditions, and soulical experiences. We have to see the living Christ, for He is the Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Reality of God. It will take more than sermons on sonship and exhortations on perfection to make us perfect sons in God’s image! We must SEE HIM to be changed into His likeness! We must see Him as He is. It is going to take more than singing choruses, clapping hands, shouting Amens and Hallelujahs, and preaching to one another about the deep mysteries of God to bring us to the knowledge of God. We shall have to MEET HIM as Thomas and Paul and John met Him! We must see Him in the Spirit and by the Spirit, we must hear His voice speaking to us out of the deepest recesses of our spirits. We must commune with Him in the glory of God that radiates from the face of Jesus Christ. Sonship can only come by personal association with Christ Himself! I am willing to stake all that I have and all that I am on this one bold assertion: No man or woman can ever be changed into the image of God or put on incorruptibility and immortality until he has cast off the yoke of the carnal mind and the bondages of human tradition and religion and has MET THE FIRSTBORN SON PERSONALLY, COMMUNED WITH HIM INTIMATELY, and continued to walk in the light and glory of what he sees.
The promise of this vision assures us of the perfecting of the powers of our spiritual life. When Moses desired the vision of the glory of God, he was warned that no man can see God and live. No man can stand in the full blaze of divine glory until he himself corresponds in nature to that glory! When John on Patmos saw the glory of God’s Christ he fell as dead in the overwhelming presence. Our nature is not constituted to bear the blaze of uncreated light. But this restricted nature is not for ever! For the burning radiance of His holy light shining upon us releases us as we are exposed to it from the obstructiveness of our own impaired senses, and then with purged heart, renewed mind, and quickened life we shall perceive Him.
George Hawtin penned some beautiful words along this line which express the real truth of it. “I have often thought,” he wrote, “of the wonderful words no man can SEE GOD AND LIVE. Oh, how often we have quoted that wonderful passage as proof that we may not hope to see His face. Will you allow me to reverently say something else? Though it is true that no man can see God and live, it is equally true that no man can see God and die. Men do not die in God’s presence, neither do they live AS THEY USED TO LIVE, but they are TRANSFORMED. Hallelujah! They are changed; they are transfigured; they come into THAT SAME IMAGE of Him who created them. In whatever measure God reveals Himself to man, to that same measure you are changed and nothing can avoid that conclusion.”
I know why some folks can’t die to flesh — when you see HIM, you die. I know why some preachers preach themselves instead of the Lord Jesus, why they can’t preach without reminding the audience of what good preachers they are, how great their word is, how chosen of God they are, how blessed the people are to have their ministry, why they promote themselves and seek to gain a following and build a kingdom around themselves — if ever they see HIM, self will fall at His feet as dead! Truly we are changed by beholding the glory of the Lord, as the apostle said. You won’t see the Christ until you start looking for Him, and you won’t find Him until you go where He is revealed. He is fully, totally revealed in His glory in the realm of the Spirit! He is revealed in the midst of the golden candlesticks, in the midst of spirits that have been quickened by His Spirit and set on fire from that fire which He is.
HE LAID HIS HAND UPON ME
“And when I saw Him I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not…” (Rev. 1:17).
I do not find it humiliating to fall down before Him. Paul fell off that swift, majestic horse into the dust on the Damascus road, and the Lord Jesus dealt with him. Then do you notice that He said to him, “But rise and stand on thy feet.” Only the glorious Christ of God has ever lifted a man out of the dust of the carnal mind and the fleshly nature and put him on his feet in the light that cannot be approached unto. John on Patmos saw the glorious Son of man and said, “I fell at His feet as dead.” Then he continued, “And He laid His right hand upon me.” And in that blessed moment John arose to behold in spirit glorious things never known by man.
The scriptures portray the right hand of God as the hand of strength, power, salvation, blessing, and anointing. The implication is that the right hand of God is the good hand of God doing wondrous things! The Psalmist confirms this when he says, “In Thy presence is fullness of joy, at Thy right hand are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11). Again, “The voice of rejoicing and salvation in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly. The right hand of the Lord is exalted” (Ps. 118:15-16). To this the prophet Isaiah adds his inspired testimony: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isa. 41:10). In the Old Testament, whenever God is portrayed as manifesting His power, it is done so with His right hand or arm. “Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power” (Ex. 15:6). “O sing unto the Lord a new song; for He hath done marvelous things: His right hand, and His holy arm, hath gotten Him the victory” (Ps. 98:1). “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, Thou wilt revive me; Thou shalt stretch forth Thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and Thy right hand shall save me” (Ps. 138:7). Numerous other Psalms express the same thought. In the New Testament, after His resurrection, Jesus was by the right hand of God exalted, and made to sit at His right hand (Acts 2:33-34; Heb. 1:3,13).
This speaks of Jesus Christ, the firstborn Son, our Forerunner. He is exalted to the right hand of God! That is therefore the calling of every son of God! He is the positive force of God in the universe “who is gone into heaven (spiritual realm of government) and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him” (I Pet. 3:22). There is no greater prize than oneness with Christ. The inspired apostle exhorted the saints in Colosse, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1). The message is clear — the elect of God are to SEEK THE THINGS OF CHRIST AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD. Seek the things of the right hand! What a word is that! There are your orders, dear child of God who treasures the hope of sonship. People tell us that we are too concerned with deep things and with high things. Nothing could be higher than the realm of God’s right hand! Seek it! Seek it! Seek it! That is the word of the Lord to every one who is conscious of being risen with Christ. Seek to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might! Seek the anointing of His power! Seek to rule and reign with Christ! Seek to be victorious in all things! Seek to be a blessing to creation! Seek to become His salvation unto all the ends of the earth! Seek to rule by His love! Seek to do wondrous things in His name! Seek to reconcile and restore all things and all men to God! That is what it means to seek the things of Christ at the right hand of God! Some of the greatest truths of the word of God are the ones that lie hidden like pearls of great price, unnoticed by the careless but available to all who will search prayerfully and diligently in the depths of God.
John fell at the feet of Christ as a dead man. Then the Lord laid His right hand upon John! The deep mystery here concerns what was in the right hand of Christ that was laid upon John. Christ held in His right hand seven stars! I want you to see the picture. John was in the earth realm on the isle of Patmos. He felt like we feel. He was weak, as we are weak. He was discouraged, as we are sometimes discouraged. He was limited, as we are limited. He was in tribulation! He was shut up, hedged in, compassed about by infirmities. But in the spirit and by the spirit He saw One, and he saw in His right hand, in the hand of authority and dominion and power, seven stars, and they were the seven angels of the seven churches which are also the seven spirits of God! He fell as dead. What happened in that blessed moment when John died? The King of glory came and laid His right hand upon him!
Do you know what the laying on of hands is for? Impartation! The laying on of hands is presented in scripture as the indication of the transferal or bestowal of the power and authority of both God and men. It was used as a means of setting apart men to particular offices or ministries. Through the laying on of hands there was the impartation of virtue and anointing to enable one to fulfill that office or ministry unto which he was called and separated. I remember well when hands were laid upon me in the Latter Rain outpouring. In those days of God’s moving we had what was called “confirmation services.” The confirmation service was rooted in the scripture (along with others) which says that the apostles went from city to city “confirming the souls of the disciples” (Acts 14:21-23). The teaching was that every child of God should be confirmed in the body of Christ by prophecy with the laying on of hands. The presbytery would come and lay hands on the saints as the Spirit directed, and by prophecy with the laying on of hands one’s calling and ministry would be revealed, gifts of the Spirit would be imparted, and each one would be established or set in his place in the body of Christ.
I will never forget when hands were laid on me in Toledo, Ohio. One of the first words to come out of the mouths of the prophets was, “Yea, thou shalt be a teacher of the kingdom of God!” I didn’t even know what the kingdom of God was! I had not the foggiest idea what the kingdom of God was about. But I do believe in confirmation! I do believe in impartation! And I cannot deny that the spirit of the word of the kingdom of God was that day imparted into my life by prophecy and the laying on of hands! It was only shortly thereafter that a mighty quickening came upon me and the revelation of the kingdom of God burst forth in power within my spirit, and I began to proclaim it from coast to coast and from nation to nation. On that day of my confirmation, another word that was spoken by the prophets was, “…and yea, thou shalt have the gift of prophecy!” When the prophets were all finished they stepped back and one said, “Brother Eby, the Lord has said that He gives you the gift of prophecy — now prophesy!” I was astonished! But I opened my mouth and the first prophecy ever to pass through my lips began to pour out! That, my friend, is impartation! And all through the Bible impartation was accomplished by the laying on of hands. Men have received strength to be healed by the laying on of hands. Multitudes have received the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. Wonderful gifts of the Spirit have been imparted to members of the body of Christ through the laying on of hands. Bishops, elders, deacons, and other ministries have been separated unto God and equipped with a special anointing by the laying on of hands. The laying on of hands by the Spirit brings impartation of the life and power of God.
The question follows — when Jesus put His right hand upon John that day so long ago, what happened to the seven stars in His hand? HE PUT THEM INTO JOHN! Can we not see that the King of glory imparted to John the seven spirits of God! He laid that hand, that held the stars, on John, and there was a mighty transformation! From that moment forward John began to see new and glorious things, he began to experience fresh and wonderful things. The old cocoon of his natural life cracked. A door stood open in heaven. John was caught up into a higher realm! What he saw was the revelation, the unveiling, the uncovering of Jesus Christ!
Christ held in His mighty hand the seven stars, the seven-fold word of God, the full revelation and power of that word which originates out of the seven spirits of God, and He lays this hand upon John and imparts the vision, authority, and power of that spirit-word to John, who is the symbol of every overcomer in Christ! We are participators in this divine drama! The seven stars, which are the seven angels, which are the seven spirits, which contain the seven-fold fullness of divine revelation and truth, were given to John that by them he would write to the seven churches! The Lord Jesus put this high and holy knowledge of the purposes of God, this heavenly illumination of His will and ways, this divine anointing of His spirit of wisdom and power, into John. He laid it on his mind, impregnated it into his spirit, and only then did He give the charge to John: “Write the things which thou has seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; the mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks” (Rev. 1:19-20).
And now, praise His name, Christ has laid His hand upon us! John is the symbol of every overcomer in Christ! Truly we have heard the great voice as the sound of a trumpet and we have turned to see the voice. Oh, yes! We have seen the golden candlesticks and have beheld this One in the midst like a son of man. We have within ourselves fallen as dead men before the glory of Christ the Head, and He has laid His hand upon us and there is a mighty impartation and transformation taking place in this hour! And now we are seeing wondrous things and experiencing great and mighty things that we knew not!
To be continued…
J. PRESTON EBY
If you would like to receive these studies write to:
J. Preston Eby
P.O. Box 371240
El Paso TX 79937-1240
All writings are distributed on a free-will basis.
Pathfinder Homepage | Elwin's Articles | Margit's Articles | Other Links